In 2017, the North Carolina state budget included $600,000 to be given to the Texas-based Human Coalition over two years to “assist women experiencing crisis pregnancies to continue their pregnancies to full term”. Since then, the group has continued receiving money from the state of North Carolina, the sum increasing by a whopping $5.8 million, according to the News & Observer.
Despite concerns raised by doctors, abortion-rights advocates, and state agencies regarding Human Coalition’s practices and a government watchdog group accusing Human Coalition of using tax dollars for religious purposes, Republican lawmakers want to increase the funding for the Christian anti-abortion group to $10 million over two years.
Additionally, starting this budget cycle, the funding would be “recurring”, meaning that the Human Coalition would automatically receive the money every two years.
The proposed increase comes at a time when North Carolina’s abortion clinics are swamped with a large influx of women seeking abortions from states where the procedure is banned.
Human Coalition has two centers in North Carolina – one in Raleigh and one in Charlotte. Unlike many other crisis pregnancy centers, this group has a wide-reaching online presence, utilizing targeted advertisements that are designed to show up when people type in search terms related to abortion or pregnancy.
Abortion-rights advocates say that these advertisements, and the websites they link to, deliberately mimic logos and websites of real clinics that offer abortions, in order to trick people who want an abortion into calling their number. The websites often look legitimate, giving information about abortion care, potential side effects, and insurance coverage. The only thing missing from the sites really is any sort of notification that the site is connected to Human Coalition – but, in very small, fine print at the very bottom of the page, the website notes that it does not perform or refer women for elective abortions.
Several women in North Carolina have reported feeling deceived by Human Coalition’s advertisements and centers. Some women were told that they would never be able to get pregnant again if they had an abortion; others were told their pregnancies were much farther along than it actually was, eliminating the option of medication abortions.
Even more disturbing, Human Coalition’s centers are not licensed by the state, nor are they inspected by the state, as abortion clinics are in North Carolina. In a 2019 report, the NC Department of Health and Human Services said it could not recommend allocating any more money to Human Coalition. Despite that, the group continued to receive more and more money from the taxpayers of North Carolina. Furthermore, there’s little to no information about how Human Coalition actually uses those funds, as their expenditure reports are often broken into large bucket categories, such as “Employee Expenses” or “Administrative Expenses.”
Democratic lawmakers have largely opposed state funding for crisis pregnancy centers. Rep. Julie von Haefen recently proposed an amendment that would take millions from what’s allocated for Human Coalition and instead give it to Nurse Family Partnership, a national nonprofit that has shown improved maternal outcomes in several randomized controlled trials. Of course, the Republican-majority House did not pass her amendment.